Tag Archives: Alexis Denisof

Thoughts On the 20th Anniversary of Angel

Sequels and spin-offs have an iffy reputation. If they are done well, they are an homage to their predecessor while blazing their own path. If they are done poorly, the sequel or the spin-ff casts a shade on it’s predecessor and it’s legacy.

On October 5th, 1999, Angel premiered. A spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show follows Angel (David Boreanaz), Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) soulful vampire ex-boyfriend. Angel has moved from Sunnydale to Los Angeles, where he is seeking to redeem his violent and bloody past by being a hero.

While Angel goes on the hero’s journey to make up for his past, he is joined by allies who support his cause and his goal of redemption. Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) and Doyle (the Glenn Quinn) joined Angel in the first season. Later on in the show’s run Wesley Wyndam-Price (Alexis Denisof), Charles Gunn (J. August Richards), Lorne (the late Andy Hallett), Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker) and Spike (James Marsters) fought against the forces of darkness.

Compared to BVTS, Angel was darker. It dealt with the same themes as BVTS, but the show dealt with those same issues with a grittier and more mature perspective. Unlike other heroes who see the world as black and white, Angel saw and understood the shades of grey that exist and force us to make decisions that in hindsight are not always wise.

Twenty years later, Angel still resounds with the fans because of the show’s grittiness, it’s honesty and the universal desire for redemption.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Winifred “Fred” Burkle

Dearest readers, I apologize for not posting last week. Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In any team, there is the brawn and there is the brains. While they are equally important, there is something to be said for using your brains instead of just physically beating your enemy with everything that you have. On Angel, Angel (David Boreanaz) was the brawn, the brains of Angel Investigations was Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker).

Fred was introduced to the audience in 2001, when she is rescued from Pylea by the Angel Investigations crew. Her rescue was not planned, the plan by the Angel Investigations crew was just to bring home Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter). But they discovered that Fred was enslaved, they freed her and brought her back to Los Angeles.

Using Fred’s background in physics and mathematics, the Angel Investigations team was able to develop strategies to protect Los Angeles from whatever baddies threatened the city. But Fred was more than a brain, she had two relationships that were not quite so happily ever after: Charles Gunn (J. August Richards) and Wesley Wyndam Price (Alexis Denisof).

When the crew takes over Wolfram & Hart, a mysterious sarcophagus appears. The being inside the sarcophagus, Illyria, slowly kills Fred before taking over her body. Fred’s last words before dies are “Wesley, why can’t I stay?”.

To sum it up: Though every action/adventure narrative has to have a character who uses intellect to solve the problem, this character has to be more than just “the brain”. Fred is more than “the brain”. She is woman with a heart, a conscious, an innocent look that belies an intelligence and most of all, a vital part of Angel Investigations.

Which is why, after all of these years, Fred is still a beloved character.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review-Wesley Wyndam-Price

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

By stereotype, the British are believed to be traditional, by the book and unable/unwilling to move away from the tried and true. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this 2D character stereotype was introduced in the form of Wesley Wyndam-Price (Alexis Denisof). Sent by the Watchers Council to be a second watcher to assist Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart-Head) with slayers Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Faith LeHane (Eliza Dushku), their relationship does not start well. Full of it and not exactly able to do his job, Wesley is as ineffective as one can get as a Watcher.

It does not help that there is a mutual crush between himself and underage Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter). When the final battle happens between the students of Sunnydale High and the Mayor, Wesley is knocked out as the battle is just getting started.

The viewer then sees Wesley in Los Angeles. Filling a void left by Doyle (the late Glenn Quinn), he joins Angel Investigations working with Angel (David Boreanaz) and Cordelia. When Faith is hired by Wolfram and Hart to kill Angel, but she kidnaps and tortures Wesley instead.

A while later, Wesley develops feeling for Winifred “Fred” Burke (Amy Acker), the newest member of the team. He also switches to the dark side when he tries to save Angel’s newborn son, Connor (played as a teenager by Vincent Kartheiser), but his throat is slit in the process. After dealing with loss, a bruised ego and discovering the truth about his father, he dies next to his beloved, Fred.

To sum it up: Over the course of his time on screen, Wesley moves from a pompous know it all who is obsessed with rules to a man who more often than not, gave into his flaws and weaknesses. But in the end, he redeemed himself by fighting for what was right. As an audience member, I can’t ask for a better character arc.

P.S. Fun fact: Alexis Denisof and Alyson Hannigan are married IRL and have two daughters.

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There Is Much Ado About Much Ado About Nothing

The latest in a long line of Shakespearean adaptations is the Joss Whedon directed “Much Ado About Nothing“.

For the uninitiated, Much Ado About Nothing is about two couples on different paths to martial happiness.

Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Beatrice (Amy Acker) dated previously, but the relationship turned sour. It is love at first sight for Hero (Jillian Morgese) and Claudio (Fran Kranz).

Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) and Leonato, Hero’s father (Clark Gregg) happily endorse the marriage between Hero and Claudio while secretly setting up Beatrice and Benedick. But Don Pedro’s brother, Don John (Sean Maher) sees an opportunity to cause trouble for his brother and Claudio.

This movie is one of the best movies I have seen so far this year.

If I was not a fan of Joss Whedon, as well as being a Buffy/Angel and a Shakespeare fan, this movie would still be one of the best I have seen so far this year.

Acker and Denisof still have the same chemistry they had on Angel ten years ago, Morgese and Kranz are well matched as the young lovers torn apart by Don John’s lies.

The biggest kudos has to go to Nathan Fillion as Dogberrry, the bumbling police chief. His scenes are some of the funniest in the movie.

This movie should absolutely be purchased when it comes out on DVD.

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Filed under Movie Review, Reviews, William Shakespeare